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What can I do as a high schoolers to help my progress of becoming an accountant in college?

I want to become an accountant. accounting business finance

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Subject: Career question for you

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John’s Answer

Ambar the benefit of knowing what your college goals are early you can take steps now to help you prepare for success in your accounting degree program and, later, in your career. By taking the right classes in high school, understanding what’s required to reach your career goals and networking with others in the field, you can start working toward success even before you have attained your high school diploma. While you are in high school, you should take classes that teach the basic principles of the skills you need to become an accountant, to prepare for college coursework in an accounting program. Accountants work with numbers to prepare financial statements and documents, so you should take classes in mathematics, algebra, calculus, and statistics.

Of course, business and accounting classes are far from the only high school courses that matter. It’s important that you complete high school studies at the college preparatory level in a wide range of subjects, especially math. Many Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree programs require students to complete at least foundational courses in algebra and pre-calculus, if not more advanced studies in algebra and calculus. Taking these courses at the high school level can help you become familiar with the topics you will need to know as a college student. If you choose an advanced placement (AP) high school class in subjects like these, you may even have the opportunity to test out of the college equivalent of the course, saving yourself time and money. Computer skills and communication skills are also valuable for prospective accountants, so be sure to work hard in your English and computer courses, as well.

You might be surprised at how much of this preparation can, and should, be done while you’re still in high school. Summer break during your high school education is the perfect time to visit top business schools, some accounting schools offer high school summer programs that equip students with new skills and allow them to discover what the college experience is really like. You don’t have to wait until you’re a full-fledged accountant to start networking. Whether you’re looking for your first internship opportunity or simply wondering what life as an accountant is like, connecting with others who are studying or working in accounting can help you prepare for your own career path.

Hope this helpful Ambar

John recommends the following next steps:

If you have selected the college or university where you will study, contact their accounting department for advice on the classes you should take in high school.
If you have not selected the college or university where you will study, visit the websites of a few college and university accounting programs to learn what classes are typically required to earn an accounting degree. Then, take high school classes that will prepare you for this college coursework.
Accounting is a business-oriented field of study, so you should take classes in business and join organizations such as the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).
Thank You Delisa. “The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves.” — Helen Keller John Frick
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Matthew’s Answer

Ambar - the way to help your self prepare for an accounting degree in college while in high school is to take business-oriented classes like entrepreneurship, business math, statistics, keyboarding, etc. I would also suggest trying to get a summer internship working in an accountant's office to see what they do and how they operate. Another idea would be to help keep the books for a small business owner that you know or you can meet through your family or friends.

I also think that it's important to use learn how to use the tools and facilities of your high school, like your guidance counsellor to help you with these decisions and help you find placement with internships or even at a university. This will also give you experience with how to use these same resources when you get to your university. It's never too early to start building your network. You will want to be able to use your network for referrals and references for many years to come.

I taught professional programs for 20 years in the financial services industry. I have many prior students still ask me for guidance and use me as a referral sometimes. I am always happy to hear from them and help out when I can.

I am impressed with you focus and excellent question. Good luck in your search. I'm confident of your continued success.

Matthew recommends the following next steps:

Talk to your guidance counsellor about best high school classes for you and other programs to be involved with.
Find an accountant or local businessperson and ask them if they have an internship program.
Build a network as early as you can with guidance counsellor, university, other students, etc.
Maintain your focus.
You can't control the outcome but you can control your input.
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Bala’s Answer

I would echo a number of the thoughts already expressed above and would add that there are a lot of other related fields/coursework that can also be helpful in your pursuit of accounting. As another contributor noted above, technology is becoming more relevant and important to the practice of accounting and its various sub-specialties. So, to the extent available, you may want to consider taking some coursework that exposes you to both basic accounting principles and technology (coding, data analysis, etc). All the best!
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Megan’s Answer

I definitely think taking as many business classes as possible in high school is helpful! Especially if your school offers Accounting classes. I also think joining business clubs can help you gain more general knowledge as well! Express your interest to your business teachers and they can help point you in the right direction based on what is offered at your school. It is fantastic that you have already started to think about how to prepare for your furture!
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eve’s Answer

Hello! I would talk to fellow accountants to understand what kind of accounting you are interested in. For example, do you want to become a personal accountant (CPA) or do you want to be a public accountant and work in corporate at one of the Big 4 Accounting firms (KPMG, PWC, Deloitte, EY). Both are awesome career paths and just knowing more will help you figure out what you want to do. Also, check out some free videos online (youtube) on accounting and what a career in this profession is like.
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Chester’s Answer

Great question! In addition to the advice already provided by others, depending on where you are, there may also be potential courses (Accounting 101, Finance 101, Technology courses, etc) that you can take in the summer at your local community college (some have special summer programs and/or courses offered to high school students) to start learning more about any specific topic before you start college. This can also help you prepare for future college courses too.
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Elizabeth’s Answer

Starting to network early will be extremely helpful! You can use the networking connections that you have already made in high school (classmates, teammates, friends' parents, counselors, teachers' spouses, employers) to continue networking and make additional connections in the accounting field. It is extremely likely that you know at least one person that knows an accountant, and that person would probably be very happy to connect the two of you. Once that connection is made, you can use that accountant as a resource to ask questions or maybe even shadow. This will help you gain experience to jump start your future!
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Steven’s Answer

Take online course. Try to gain certifications in the tools you will need to use as a accountant. Excel, Data Tool, QuikBooks. The more you have they better chance of getting a internship during school which can ultimately help you get in the field you would like all before you graduate. It will make you more well rounded and focus the earlier you start because you will now the basic and once you learn the nitty gritty, you can make better judgement on what path you want to go down.
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Katherine’s Answer

There are many courses you can take in high school to prepare you for the classes you will take in college to seek an accounting degree. Make sure you enjoy your math classes and try to take calculus in high school. If macro and micro economics are offered, definitely take those as well! Having computer skills, particularly in excel, will certainly be useful - so take a class that focuses on excel modeling.
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Doloris’s Answer

To prepare for your post-secondary education and future in accounting there are a few things you can do in high school. If your school offers accounting courses or dual enrollment, I highly suggest taking advantage of those opportunities for exposure to accounting principles. In addition, if there are any business related clubs your school offers such as Business Professionals of America or Future Business Leaders of America, you can get valuable resources and experience in accounting.
I hope this helps!
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Jonathan’s Answer

Great answers so far. I would add that reading business news articles and books is a way to take a huge step forward as well. Part of being a good accounting is understanding the business purpose and dynamics of your clients or company. The broader your spectrum of knowledge about the business world and economy... the better you can serve clients / help your company in the future and the better grades you can get in classes :o)
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Ellen’s Answer

Hi Ambar - I think it's great that you're interested in accounting! I'd start with seeing if your high school offers any accounting or business classes. I'd also recommend looking into any classes related to computer skills, data analytics, etc. If your high school doesn't offer classes in these areas, you could check out your local community college - they may have an introductory course that you could take, and, potentially, even get college credit for it!

I'd also see if your high school has any business clubs/organizations, such as Future Business Leaders of America. Joining the speech/debate team would also be a great way to develop public speaking skills that will benefit you in college and in the professional world. If you're in a volunteer club or other extracurriculars, consider running for a leadership position.

My last piece of advice, which may seem contrary, is to not limit yourself by focusing too much on one . I think accounting is a great career and I think it's awesome that you're being proactive about your career goals. And it's definitely a good idea to start learning more about the industry/field and developing skills that will help you achieve those career goals. But I also think it's important keep an open mind and explore new options. Lots of people go into college with a plan and end up leaving on a completely different path. There's so many careers out there that you've probably never even heard of.
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Lauren’s Answer

Hi Ambar,
Great question! Prior to college, I would recommend researching careers in accounting because there are so many ways you can use a degree in accounting. For example, there's the public vs. private sector; different fields such as tax, advisory, or auditing; not to mention specializing in the accounting field such as a career in forensics. If you obtain that knowledge earlier on it will help when it comes time to pick your accounting courses in college. When I attended college, I majored in accounting but also minored in criminal justice and political science in order to tailor my studies towards a forensics career path. If your high school offers accounting or business classes consider taking those to gain some foundational knowledge before taking classes at a higher level in college. Additionally, consider creating a LinkedIn profile to connect with accounting professionals, it's always great to start networking early. There are also professional organizations that you could get involved in which offer student memberships. Those organizations can provide a better insight into the accounting field and also offer ways to advance your knowledge and/or skillset in the field whether that be through webinars, learning courses, etc.
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Luis’s Answer

If you start anything Accounting related in High School than you're already ahead of the game in College :)

I was able to take Intro to Accounting, Business and Career Development classes in high school, which served me well as I was going into college for Accounting and Finance. See if your high school offers financial classes (personal or business) as electives. Also, you could watch basic Intro to Accounting videos on YouTube and do a google search to find free or low cost intro to accounting and finance classes. You might be able to find classes on Udemy as well.
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Carrie’s Answer

I would try to find internships with an accounting firm or even a bookkeeping service. Maybe start small with learning how to read and create financial statements. That is the basic foundation, but is something you'll use ongoing and will expand from there. Most businesses also have someone internally they use (and they always have a CPA) so don't hesitate to look at small to medium sized businesses for opportunities. Ask friends and family if they have any contacts in this space and ask for a few mins of their time for a call or even a coffee in the AM.
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Kristina’s Answer

Hi, that is great that you already have an idea of a career you might be interested in. I have compiled a list below of ideas that can help you with your career goals. All schools have different opportunities, so not all of them may apply, but any of these would be good options. Best of luck.

Kristina recommends the following next steps:

Take business and accounting classes if offered.
Take computer classes if offered (it is good to get comfortable with various programs/tools)
Join business related clubs.
Look for potential job shadowing opportunities / check with your guidance counselors about what is out there.
Start looking into colleges with good accounting programs to further your education.
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Harris’s Answer

Try to get an internship with an accountant
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Sydney’s Answer

Hi Ambar! I completely agree with the advise the other answers have provided. In addition to all of that, I would advise you to learn as much as you can about the different types of accounting, so that you have a better idea of the career path you'd like to follow. One thing that I was surprised about during the intership search was just how many types of accounting there are, and how different they are. For example, I am in Deals accounting, which consists of advising clients on the accounting complexities associated with various transactions such as an IPO, a business combination, or a divestiture. Audit and tax are two other types of accounting. There are also specialties you could pursue, such as equity accounting. Reaching out to those in your network and asking for informational interviews is the best way to do this. That way, when it's time to apply for internships/jobs, you'll already have a great sense of what you're looking for!
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M’s Answer

Look at business clubs, contact a local CPA and ask to do an internship. Do anything that can get you into that world.

Good luck
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Kyle’s Answer

All great advice above, but to be additive I would say try and take an interest in and hone your skills in areas of technology. Whether its RPA, coding, or data analytics, technology and accounting are at an interesting intersection right now and having some skills or even background knowledge or understanding is going to be important going forward.
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